This boxed set of four CDs recorded between 1987 and 1989 illustrates Benny Carter's versatility performing with four different groups. He was already aged 80 when he recorded the first of these albums, yet there is no sign of ageing. Indeed, Benny stayed alive and active until he was 95. From the very first track, the listener is struck by Carter's pure, mellow sound, putting him in contention with Johnny Hodges and Willie Smith as one of the three altoists in jazz with the sweetest tone. This CD also exhibits Benny as a composer, since he wrote all eleven tunes. Dizzy Gillespie makes guest appearances on three tracks, playing with restraint and harmonizing well with Carter.
Set 1: Hartford Civic Centre, CT - July 10th, 1977. 2008 repressing of this deluxe eight CD box set, subtitled From The Manticore Vaults. Four epic concerts make up this suitably extravagant box set by the unchallenged kings of Pomp-Rock, whose majestic three-way instrumental interplay laid down the blueprint for the Progressive '70s. Features shows from Hartford Civic Center (1977), Chicago (1978), Pennsylvania and Jones Beach (both from 1992), 61 tracks. Volume #4 seemed to have completely caught me by suprise. Out Of The blue[excuse the unintended pun]. I was indeed unprepared; Since I own volumes I-III; I had no choice but to buy this ELP set. Volume IV contrasts dodgy to somewhat good -great audio performances of ELP specifically comparing/contrasting the ELP years of 1977/1978/1992. It is a true sucessor to volumes I-III.